What’s the Best Season for Conceiving a Fast Runner?

Many parents spend a lot of time and money so that their children can be good at sports. There might be a shortcut, however. It just takes some family planning.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, a child conceived in the second half of winter is more physically fit and stronger than his or her peers.

Dr. Gavin Sandercook, a clinical physiologist at the University of Essex in the UK, led a group of researchers who tested nearly 9,000 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 16 on tasks of strength, stamina, and cardiovascular fitness. The children born in autumn were the best performers, by a long shot.

Why? The researchers say it’s because of the mothers’ greater exposure to Vitamin D at the end of pregnancy. Vitamin D has been shown to have a positive effect on athletes and is linked to bone stimulus and muscle growth. Meaning that the children born in the late summer and early autumn were given an athletic head start.

However looking at the top five finishers at the 2012 US Olympic Trials in events ranging from the 1500 meters on up, the runner’s birth month proved to be mostly insignificant. In fact, if there was a month that’s best to be born in, it’s spring.

Of the 46 athletes who placed in the top five, nine were born in March, while five each were born in May, August, September and October.

Genetics are certainly as important as birth season for runners, which is why Colt Goucher, son of Kara and Adam Goucher, might be in luck.

Also, he was born in Autumn.

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